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Cosco Buscan Pilot Charged in Oil Spill

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Federal prosecutors on Monday filed new charges today against John Joseph Cota, pilot of the Cosco Buscan, for his role in the Nov. 7 spill that dumped 58,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay.

Cota was charged with failing to pilot a collision-free course or review the proposed course with the captain and crew of the Cosco Buscan and failing to use the ship's radar or other navigational tools as he approached the Bay Bridge through heavy fog.

Cota is charged with one count of violating the Clean Water Act, for which he can serve up to one year in prison and be fined $100,000, and one count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, punishable by a fine of $15,000 and 6 months in prison. The oil spill killed about 2,000 birds, including the endangered Brown Pelican and the threatened marbled murrelet.

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